Cognitive Explanations of Mental Illness

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  • Cognitive Explanations of Mental Illness
    • Assumption
      • mental disorders are the result of faulty thought processes or errors in the way people think
        • faulty thinking = some people think irrationally or in way that don't make sense
    • Beck (1961)
      • attempted to explain depression
      • the Negative Cognition Triad is a model that identifies the 3 main ways someone with depression may think
        • 1. Negative views about self 2. negative views about future 3. negative views about the world
      • people with depression may have irrational cognitions about themselves and the world around them
      • he said that people with depression may select information from their surroundings to support their negative thoughts eg. focusing on the one bad thing that happened that day
    • Albert Ellis
      • another person who said mental illness is caused by or sustained by irrational thinking
      • suggested that people with depression or anxiety, people with faulty thinking, may set high and sometimes unrealistic goals that make them feel like failures as they can't achieve them
    • Types of Cognitive Bias
      • 1. Arbitrary Inferences
        • drawing negative conclusions off the back of insufficient evidence
        • eg 'x' hates me because they didn't smile at me
      • 2. Selective Abstraction
        • focusing on negative details or events whilst ignoring the positive ones
        • eg I failed that quiz, I'm rubbish at Psychology
      • 3. Overgeneralisation
        • drawing sweeping conclusions based on a single incident
        • eg I didn't get that job, I'll never get one
      • 4. Catastrophising
        • exaggerating a minor setback until it becomes a complete disaster
        • eg.  I failed one assessment so I'm never gong to study, stop attending class or applying to University
      • 5. Black and White Thinking
        • seeing everything in terms in success or failure - nothing in between
        • eg I'm good at Psychology || I'm a complete failure
    • Evidence for faulty thinking in disorders?
      • Hoffman 2012
        • a review was conducted to find out if cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was as effective as medication at treating disorders
        • it was found that CBT could provide immediate relief of symptoms for some anxiety disorders
        • CBT was effective as it would help change the way people think, change irrational thinking into rational thinking and had a postitive effect
        • Faulty thinking had some influence on disorders and disordered behaviour


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